In the States, you probably know about B movies, but there is something called B-kyu gurume (B class gourmet) here in Japan.
This form of food is not "frou-frou", but found in shitamachi (working class areas). It is down to earth, cheap and delicious.
These foods usually don't use the best parts of the animal, which is probably why they can sell things cheap.
Anyway...Satoshi has been wanting to check out a monument...of a comic character, so we headed to Kobe.
Tetsujin Niju-hachi go (Super Giant 28) was created by Yokoyama Mitsuteru, who was born near Kobe.
Satoshi grew up with this cartoon on television.
An NPO group came up with the idea for this monument as a way to "cheer up" their area which was decimated in the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
The project was started in 2006 and the monument was finished in 2009. It is 18 meters tall (59 feet high). Unfortunately, Mr. Yokoyama died in 2004 and was never able to see the finished product.
The monument is located in a park near the JR Shin Nagata station.
From the park, there are many shopping arcades, unfortunately, there were only a handful open because most shops have the day off on Wednesday.
Still, I got to show Satoshi some of the b-kyu gurume that Nagata has to offer.
First off, we shared an okonomiyaki topped with suji-kon from Iroha. Suji-kon is beef muscle/nerf cooked with konnyaku (devil's tongue jelly) in a sweet and salty sauce. Suji-kon is also called bokkake.
We loved this okonomiyaki, it had lots of cabbage and the sauce was nicely balanced (not too sweet or salty)...330 yen (about US$3.30)
I have tried something before with bokkake and blogged about it here.
A couple blocks away from Iroha was Chizuruya, a butcher/croquette shop.
Just the smell of the oil frying up croquette drew us to them. Not to mention the line waiting for the croquettes.
We tried a potato croquette 60 yen (about US$.60) and minchkatsu (minced beef (hamburger) cutlet) 70 yen (about US$.70).
We ordered ours to eat right away, so they came wrapped in brown paper and were piping hot.
Nagata is also known for being an area which makes shoes, so we went to check out a building called Shoes Plaza, unfortunately this place had the day off too.
If you go to check them out (when they are open), they have many shoe shops inside and in front you'll see these huge red high heels.
Across the street from the Shoes Plaza there is a tiny okonomiyaki shop called Fuji.
There was a dish that I wanted Satoshi to try called sobameshi, luckily they had it on their menu. Soba is yakisoba (fried noodle), meshi is rice.
This dish is like fried rice but with the addition of fried noodles.
They are cooked with cabbage, green onion and the noodle is chopped up as it is cooked. At the end, it is topped with some of the sweet and salty sauce.
You can find many variations of this dish in Nagata, but I think the best is with bokkake in it.
Satoshi and I shared the sobameshi and suji sobameshi...total 1400 yen (about US$14).
I loved how the noodle got crispy from staying on the griddle while you ate.
Both dishes came with a serving of miso soup & pickles.
Very filling but with all that walking, surely hit the spot.
Despite most of the shops being closed, it was a nice sunny day, a bit chilly, but lots of delicious foods to try.